At seven years old, and swaggering with all its 800 million unique monthly visitors, YouTube is on the verge of something new: original, non-amateur video content. The site even has a swank-ily revamped interface from which to present its offerings of polished content.
The video-sharing leviathan, whose parent company is Google, has gotten more than its feet wet in the waters of entertainment production by hiring professional writers, directors, and producers. One hundred-plus channels will be inaugurated, possibly before the summer, by these pioneers of professional YouTube content. Amy Poehler, the comedian pictured at the left, will be one of them.
John Seabrook has been keeping tabs on YouTube for some time, and he rendered his observations in a New Yorker essay that appeared today. According to Seabrook, YouTube is going after a larger chunk of the $60 billion advertisers shell out on television; they currently only spend $3 billion on the Web. But that’s not it; YouTube is also positioning itself to be able to sell its professional channels to television networks and the cable guys.
In the future YouTube is betting on, fifty percent of homes will be hooked up to view Web channels on their TVs. Without a doubt, the company Chad Hurley, Steven Chan, and Jawed Karim founded is also hoping its professional content will persuade users to stay on the site longer than the 15 minutes they’re currently spending there each day.